John Harper of the Daily News thinks that Robinson Cano needs to step things up:
More than Curtis Granderson, more than Nick Johnson, the onus falls on Cano to fill the clutch gap. Indeed, it’s time for Cano to prove he’s more than a great talent, a status he reaffirmed in 2009 with a big rebound season.
In 2010 the Yankees need for him to prove he can be a great hitter as well, one who understands situations and delivers when it counts most.
Harper goes on to note that Cano should have won a Gold Glove but that “part of winning those types of awards is earning respect around the
league as a true star, and a big part of that is earning a reputation
for being clutch.”
“There was a streak when [Cano] had made about 10 or 11 outs in a row with
runners in scoring position, and he hit nine bullets. Over the long term that usually irons itself out, but when you don’t
have 600,000 at-bats, it doesn’t iron out. His at-bats, a lot of times
were very good with runners in scoring position. I didn’t think he had
a lot of luck last year”
Practicing better patience and realizing better luck sounds like an easier trick to pull off than taking peyote, entering a Ute Indian sweat lodge and trying to commune with the Clutch Gods or whatever process Harper thinks it is that turns mere ballplayers into clutch hitters.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.